This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Using perspective when drawing a cartoon

Drawing a cartoon is like being the director of a little one-frame movie. In addition to drawing the characters and the scenery, you have to place the "camera", that is, the point of view of the viewer.

The cartoon of "Rambling Russ" jumping off a picnic table uses simple one-point perspective. You know, like you see when train tracks go off in the distance. The point of view is where the "vanishing point" is, which is where the two imaginary lines meet. That's where your eyes are as you look at this scene, which puts you just above the feet of Rambling Russ. This is why you can see so much of the top of the picnic table, and it also guides your eye to his feet, which is supposed to be the funny part.

The next time you are looking at a comic book, make a point to study the perspective. Many cartoonists use "forced perspective', that is, making an object appear to be going back in space faster than it actually would. This can give a more dramatic, dynamic look.

I started getting interested in perspective when I first started reading Spider-Man comics when I was a kid. I especially liked how the artists made Spidey look down from the tall buildings! A great master of this was John Romita. After I started learning about this, I saw perspective everywhere, which is why I would often stand looking at what seemed to be nothing. I still do it now. If you see perspective, you will know what I'm talking about. If not, please gently move me away from the middle of the freeway!